Tonality: the shape of affect

Dogantan-Dack, Mine (2013) Tonality: the shape of affect. Empirical Musicology Review . ISSN 1559-5749 [Article] (Accepted/In press)


The last decade has witnessed an increasing interest in studying music as it relates to human evolution, leading to the establishment of so-called evolutionary musicology as a new field of enquiry. Researchers in this field maintain that music indeed played as crucial a role as the development of language in the evolution of humankind. The most frequently cited musical phenomena in relation to various adaptive functions include rhythm, meter, and melodic contour. In this connection, the universal phenomenon of tonal organisation of pitch in musical systems received no attention. This article provides a hypothesis regarding the evolutionary origins of tonality as a system for the dynamic shaping of affect, and establishes further connections between music and affective states by proposing a link between the emergence of tonality and of the human capacity to regulate inter-subjective dynamics by shaping the course of affect towards stable states. The article also proposes that tonality provides an archetypal psychological space within which the human ability to shape different paths towards stable affective states could evolve.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Paper originally presented at the Music and Evolutionary Thought Conference, University of Durham, Durham, UK, 22-23 July 2007.
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 3188
Depositing User: Dr Mine Dack Dogantan Dack
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2009 10:40
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:16

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